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Prayers From Maria Memorial Raises Spirits - and Money For Research

Maria McNamara spent the last 14 months of her short life battling a glioma brain tumor – one of the deadliest form of childhood cancer. Throughout her ordeal, Maria inspired family, friends and doctors with her courage, strength and faith.

After Maria died in 2007 at age 7, her parents, Ed and Megan McNamara of Avon Lake, created a foundation to raise awareness about the disease and money for pediatric glioma research. To date the Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation has distributed more than $1 million, which has helped researchers tap millions more in matching grants from other funders including the National Institutes of Health.

To aid its fundraising efforts and to remind the community of the valiant fight waged by Maria and other childhood cancer victims, the foundation since 2014 has planted dozens of acres of sunflowers on land just north of Interstate 90 that is owned by the Jacobs Group. Maria’s Field of Hope has become a burst of late-summer color that is source of civic pride in Avon Lake, a destination for family photos and a place for quiet reflection.

Megan McNamara - Mother of Maria McNamara